ANDREW ERICSON LEE was born near Bergen, Norway. His family immigrated to the United States when he was four, settling in Wisconsin. He began his business career in Iowa and then moved to Vermillion, Dakota Territory in 1867, where in 1869 he formed a partnership in the general mercantile and farming business, which involved stock breeding. He served on the Vermillion City Council from 1892 to 1893 and was later Vermillion’s Mayor. He was elected governor as a member of the People’s Party. In addition to streamlining state government, Lee offered measures to control business interests such as the railroads that supplied services and materials to the farmers of the state. Although these measures failed, Lee was elected to a second term, this time as a candidate of the Fusion Party, which was composed of Democrats and Independents. Lee declined to run for reelection to a third term in 1900, returning to his business in Vermillion. He campaigned unsuccessfully for a return to the governorship in 1908, running as a Democrat.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 13. New York: James T. White & Company.